2.2 C
Elmira
Saturday, January 25, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Sprucelawn seeks council help to counter delays in building new addition

TRENDING

News Briefs

Woolwich nixes traffic islands Displeased with the troublesome pedestrian islands installed during the Region of Waterloo’s reconstruction of Church Street...

Woolwich proposes 5% tax hike for 2020

Budget talks underway this week, Woolwich council is looking at five per cent hike in property taxes, a...

20-year-old agreement causes a stir

An Elmira environmentalist’s “smoking gun” appears to be shooting blanks. Al Marshall, a long-time critic of cleanup efforts at...

Woolwich looks to add green projects as part of climate action plan

Planting trees remains Woolwich’s priority in rolling out a 0.5 per cent greening levy on property taxes again...

THIS WEEK

Elmira
light rain
2.2 ° C
4 °
-0.6 °
48 %
4.1kmh
90 %
Sat
4 °
Sun
1 °
Mon
0 °
Tue
-1 °
Wed
-3 °

Concerned about delays, a group of seniors wants the township to help speed up the process to expand their St. Jacobs apartment complex.

Sprucelawn Apartments for Seniors Inc. has applied for an amendment to Woolwich’s official plan as well as a zone change needed to add 28 units to the existing building.  The move would essentially double the size of the complex at 33 Front St., which is currently home to 30 units.

The organization has purchased a neighbouring property for $550,000 to make room for an addition, bought a strip of surplus land from the township and then spent $130,000 to clean up contaminants underneath it, and has spent some $340,000 on land, legal costs and design work. All told, Sprucelawn has invested about a million dollars over the last few years, yet still has no assurances the project can go ahead, board member Laverne Brubacher told township councillors meeting Tuesday night.

In the latest setback, the corporation needs to remediate some salt-contaminated soil under its parking to obtain what’s known as a record of site. That’s expected to cost $28,000, and the bill could grow to $200,000 if the problem is larger than expected.

On top of that, development is on hold pending the resolution of a drainage issue involving the neighbouring millrace. An outlet on the water course needs to be repaired or replaced, raising questions about who’ll pay for the project. It’s likely to involve a cost-sharing arrangement between the township and adjacent property owners, including planned redevelopment for the nearby former Jakobstettel Inn site at 16 Isabella St.

Each new issue has come at a cost in terms of time and money, Brubacher noted, asking whether some of the work could continue even as the problems get resolved.

“Could the mill race problem not be resolved while we’re building?” he asked, adding there’s no timeline for solutions to any of the issues. “Is it months or years?”

Sprucelawn’s plight met with sympathy from Coun. Murray Martin, who agreed the millrace repairs could be resolved concurrently with some progress at the housing project.

Likewise, the remaining soil remediation could be done at the time of construction, rather the beforehand, he argued.

“You finish one thing, and another roadblock shows up.”

But senior township planner Jeremy Vink pointed out that the Region of Waterloo is demanding that the parking lots record of site – land on which the addition is to be built – before a zone change can be granted.

In response to Coun. Larry Shantz’s inquiry about a holding provision, Vink said the township could do that, but it would not satisfy the region such that construction could go ahead.

Sprucelawn has invested about a million dollars …, yet still has no assurances the project can go ahead, board member Laverne Brubacher told township councillors meeting Tuesday night.

“We’re caught up in a process,” he said, adding the group may need to find an alternative with the region.

In a similar vein, the millrace drainage problem involves many stakeholders, and the township has to consult them on any potential solutions.

For Brubacher, the goal right now is to clear the way for some progress to be made, perhaps by getting the zoning in place what would allow Sprucelawn to pursue funding and move ahead with planning and design. Actual construction is likely at least a year away.

The planning application looks to rezone the property from residential medium density (R-3) to residential multiple with design guidelines (R-7A). The site-specific provisions for the 1.5-acre property include reducing the required lot frontage from 36.5 metres to approximately 33.5 metres; reducing the required northerly side yard setback from 7.5 metres to approximately 4.0 metres; and retaining the existing reduced parking of 11 spaces.

Construction is expected to cost $6.5 to $7 million.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

LIVING HERE

Catholic teachers join public board on the picket lines

Local Catholic elementary and high school teachers hit the picket lines Tuesday, marching up and down Arthur Street in Elmira as part of a one-day, province-wide strike. It’s not an...

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Water and sewer rates to rise again this year, as Woolwich approves budget

Flush with cash or otherwise, you’ll be paying more again this year for turning on the taps and taking care of business in...

Jacks post first loss of 2020, but post wins on either side

A four-game winning streak to start the new year having come to an end Saturday, the Wellesley Applejacks rebounded Tuesday night to post...

Sugar Kings lose for the first time in 2020

A couple of streaks came to an end Sunday as the Elmira Sugar Kings played their lone game of the week: the four...

Job vacancies become harder to fill in the townships

It’s becoming increasingly tough for employers to find the right candidates to fill vacancies, particularly in local and rural areas, says a new report...
- Advertisement -